Aluminum is the third most common element in the earth's crust and therefore the most common metal. We consume tiny amounts of it every day - especially through our food. In antiperspirants, aluminum chloride is the only effective way to curb sweat production instead of just covering up the smell of sweat with fragrances. Aluminum chloride is increasingly being linked to breast cancer. But is there something to it? Soummé clarifies!
We repeatedly receive messages in which concerns are expressed as to whether aluminum chloride is harmful or even promotes breast cancer.
In this article we explain what exactly this is all about and how the relationship between aluminum chloride and breast cancer can be classified.
If you're in a hurry, you can jump straight to the topics. Of course, we recommend reading the whole article:
Table of contents
- Use of aluminum chloride in antiperspirants
- Difference between an aluminum-free deodorant and an antiperspirant
- Studies on breast cancer caused by antiperspirants
- How did you come to believe there was a connection between aluminum and cancer?
- Absorption of aluminum through antiperspirants compared to absorption through food
- Can consumers adhere to these guidelines?
- How much aluminum chloride does Soummé anti-tarnishing agent absorb?
- Soummé Protection during pregnancy?
Aluminum is found in fruit and vegetables as well as in German drinking water, which is among the purest and best in the world. In general, the water that comes from the tap in this country is the most strictly controlled food we have.
A relatively high amount of aluminum is found, for example, in dried herbs and spices, but also in chocolate. We also absorb aluminum through everyday products such as dishes, packaging (aluminum foil, aluminum trays, etc.) and various hygiene and cosmetic products.
Why is aluminum chloride used in antiperspirants?
Aluminum has an antiperspirant effect. It has the property of pulling the skin together (astringent effect). On the other hand, it helps to temporarily close the outlets of the sweat ducts by forming a gel-like protein complex (like a kind of plug).
It has therefore been a staple in antiperspirants for decades. To be more precise, it is only the addition of aluminum salts that turns a “normal” deodorant into a truly effective antiperspirant.
What exactly is the difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant is explained in more detail in the next section.
Aluminum chloride settles in the exits of the sweat ducts, which means that sweat no longer or hardly ever escapes to the outside (skin surface). However, this only applies to the treated area.
Since the unpleasant smell is caused by bacteria that break down the sweat on the surface of the skin; With an aluminum-containing antiperspirant, you don't necessarily have to use (often artificial) fragrances that try to cover up the smell of sweat.
That's why we can do without perfume and other unnecessary additives in our Soummé antiperspirant series. Not only allergy sufferers appreciate this!
What is the difference between an aluminum-free deodorant and an antiperspirant?
While an aluminum-free deodorant only combats the main consequence of sweating that is noticeable to our environment - namely the unpleasant odor - an antiperspirant starts much earlier and combats the cause.
His goal is to avoid sweating as much as possible right from the start so that no foul smell of sweat can form in the first place.
Because covering it up with fragrances, as is attempted with a deodorant, always has an incalculable residual risk:
If we sweat too much, if our individual sweat smell is too aggressive, if we wear the wrong clothes, if we don't use enough deodorant and/or if the noses of those around us are too sensitive, there is a risk that the fragrances will not be able to (completely) eliminate the smell of sweat. to cover.
A deodorant without aluminum is therefore entirely possible. However, there is no effective antiperspirant without aluminum because only aluminum chloride narrows the outlets (temporarily!) by forming the plug and in this way can reduce sweat and therefore also body odor.
Stiftung Warentest also found in its most recent test: Only aluminum salts in deodorant reliably stop the flow of sweat. 
At the same time, the institute determined a few years ago that antiperspirants without aluminum do not protect against sweat and are therefore wrongly named. 
But now we come to the question that is probably of great interest to every reader: Is aluminum chloride carcinogenic?
Is aluminum carcinogenic?
In recent years, more deodorants without aluminum have come onto the market because of speculation about the health risks of aluminum chloride in antiperspirants. There is no doubt that large amounts of aluminum are unhealthy, although the specific health consequences have not yet been researched. It is very important to clearly distinguish and differentiate between the following two points:
(1) Antiperspirants, like other cosmetics, contribute to the absorption of aluminum chloride.
(2) But is this ingested aluminum chloride also the cause of diseases such as breast cancer or Alzheimer's?
And at this point the all-clear can be given:
No – using an antiperspirant/deodorant with aluminum is not carcinogenic!
In order for aluminum to make us sick, we have to ingest enormously large doses of it. This is almost impossible for healthy people because the metal is broken down and excreted via the kidneys.
Only people with kidney failure are at risk of aluminum accumulating in the body.
What is the study situation on this?
Prof. David Borchelt, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida who researches the harmfulness of aluminum, says: Small amounts of aluminum do not harm the body. 
In fact, to date there is no study that proves negative health effects of aluminum chloride in deodorants. Quite the opposite:
Most studies do not support this suspicion. From a medical perspective, it is therefore not necessary to only use a deodorant without aluminum.
Most aluminum comes from food.
The Federal Ministry for Risk Assessment (BfR) says that Germans' aluminum intake is well below the European limit of one milligram per kilogram of body weight per week. According to estimates by the Federal Institute, we only consume half of this amount.
“Even if we were to exceed the limit every now and then, that wouldn’t immediately lead to health problems.”
- said Hans Drexler, director of the Institute for Environmental Medicine at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
The Nuremberg occupational physician and his team also published a study in September in which several people used an antiperspirant every day for two weeks and aluminum concentrations were measured in the blood and urine. 
They found no measurable increase compared to the aluminum concentrations during periods without the use of antiperspirant.
Drexler explains: "The aluminum intake through deodorants is so low that it is lost in the background noise of everyday intake through air and food."
Consequently, he comes to the conclusion that almost no aluminum is absorbed through deodorants, at least in the short term.
A current report from the EU Commission's Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (SCSS) also classifies aluminum deodorant as unproblematic. 
In view of the clear facts about aluminum chloride, “Die Zeit” recently published an apt headline: “The aluminum deodorant hysteria”. 
The meticulous analysis proves that the connection between aluminum and breast cancer is nothing more than a claim made by biased scientists.
Therefore, no health risk from aluminum salts in antiperspirants could be proven.
Both the studies and facts as well as renowned toxicologists give the all-clear. No causal relationship can be proven between aluminum intake and breast cancer or Alzheimer's disease.
How did you come to believe there was a connection between aluminum and cancer?
Evidence for such a connection only came from studies on breast cancer patients, which showed higher levels of aluminum in mammary tissue and secretion than could be detected in healthy tissue or in the secretion of healthy women.
The observation that aluminum accumulations have been found in breast tumors is also not very valid. As with the aluminum deposits in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, it is not clear what is the cause and consequence of the disease. Other minerals are also found in tumors.
Researchers explain the increased occurrence by the fact that there is more tissue in the outer area of the breast.
However, in studies on mice, no tumors were observed, even at high concentrations.
Absorption of aluminum through antiperspirants compared to absorption through food
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has derived a tolerable weekly intake of 1 milligram (mg) of aluminum per kilogram of body weight for oral intake through food.
- At 60 kg = 60mg per week
- At 80 kg = 80 mg per week
Can consumers adhere to these guidelines?
What amount of aluminum do consumers consume on average through their diet and how much in comparison through antiperspirants?
According to an estimate (EFSA) from 2008, the amount of aluminum intake through food is up to (between 0.2) and 1.5 mg.
This corresponds to a daily intake of 1.7 to 13 mg of aluminum for a 60 kg adult.
So more than the guideline value of 1 mg per kilogram of body weight per week given by the EFSA.
This would be 90 mg per week for a 60 kg person (the guideline value would be 60 mg).
How much aluminum chloride does Soummé anti-tarnishing agent absorb?
The antiperspirant Soummé Protection would absorb approx. 5% aluminum. This is comparable to an amount of 10 mg per day that one would consume orally through food.
So a 70 kg person would have a buffer of 60 mg!
Every consumer must decide for themselves whether and to what extent they want to make compromises. If you look at the relationship to food, the scaremongering specifically related to antiperspirants is not justified.
If you want to reduce your aluminum intake despite the clear facts, you don't have to do without an effective antiperspirant. Especially if you sweat a lot, you can't afford it anyway. Because if sweat production is above average, scented deodorants quickly fail.
Unlike many other commercially available antiperspirants, Soummé antiperspirant does not need to be applied daily due to its long-term effect.
Soummé reduces aluminum absorption due to its long effect and the associated low application. The average Soummé customer only uses Novel Protection antiperspirant 1 to 3 times a week!
As a rule, one to three applications per week are enough, so that significantly less aluminum is absorbed when using Soummé than with ordinary antiperspirants.
In addition, Protection by Soummé consciously avoids substances such as polyethylene glycols or parabens. These make the skin more permeable to pollutants and can even have a hormonal effect.
Soummé Protection during pregnancy?
We have no information that Protection cannot be used during pregnancy (neither from the safety assessment nor from the cosmetics regulations).
This was confirmed to us even after consultation with pharmacists. Protection not only contains no parabens, no alcohol, no dyes or fragrances, but also no PEGs.
These are substances that can make the skin permeable to harmful substances and are contained in many antiperspirants and deodorants. If you have any concerns about aluminum salt, we would recommend that you consult your doctor.
Another interesting experiment:
Aluminum is found in low concentrations in breast milk. In a study by Hawkins, aluminum concentrations were measured in the blood plasma of infants fed either breast milk or various formulations of infant formula and formula (Hawkins, 1994).
It was shown that in infants who were fed breast milk containing 9.2 µg aluminum/L, the concentration in the blood plasma was approximately the same at 8.6 µg/L as in those fed premature infant formula (300 µg aluminum/L). L) fed children whose blood plasma had an average of 9.7 µg/L.
Although the use of an aluminum-containing antiperspirant would increase the aluminum concentration in breast milk by some proportion, it is unlikely to increase the concentration in the blood plasma of infants.
Since antiperspirants are not the only source of aluminum for consumers, calculating the safety margin for a single product is not useful in terms of risk assessment.
Rather, what needs to be taken into account is the cumulative aluminum intake from all sources such as food, cooking utensils and other cosmetic products, as well as possible use several times a day or on shaved or damaged skin.
Regular use of an aluminum-containing antiperspirant over decades may increase the body's exposure to aluminum, which may contribute to health problems at a later date.
The BfR lacks scientific data to assess the long-term consequences of chronic aluminum exposure in order to be able to carry out a final risk assessment.
The facts about aluminum in antiperspirants:
- Our earth, our air and our water naturally contain aluminum.
- Only aluminum chloride is able to reduce sweat production.
- A deodorant without aluminum simply overlays the smell of sweat with fragrances.
- An antiperspirant without aluminum is ineffective and therefore not an antiperspirant.
- We consume less than half of the EU limit for aluminum.
- There is no scientific evidence that aluminum chloride is harmful to health in normal amounts.
- The vast majority of reputable and independent studies as well as the EU Commission classify aluminum deodorants as harmless.
- Soummé usually only needs to be used once or twice a week and thus reduces aluminum absorption without losing its effectiveness.
 Köppe, Julia: Only aluminum salts reliably reduce sweating, accessed November 4, 2020, at https://www.spiegel.de/gesundheit/ernaehrung/stiftung-warentest-nur-aluminium-deos-stoppen-den-schweissfluss- reliable-a-1268542.html.
 National center institute, at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/myths/antiperspirants-fact-sheet, accessed on September 25, 2020.
 Krewski, Daniel & Yokel, Robert & Nieboer, Evert & Borchelt, David & Cohen, Joshua & Harry, G. Jean & Kacew, Sam & Lindsay, Joan & Mahfouz, Amal & Rondeau, Virginie. (2007). Human Health Risk Assessment for Aluminum, Aluminum Oxide, and Aluminum Hydroxide. Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part B, Critical reviews. 10 Suppl 1. 1-269. 10.1080/10937400701597766.
 Letzel M, Drexler H, Göen T, Hiller J: Impact of Daily Antiperspirant Use on the Systemic Aluminum Exposure: An Experimental Intervention Study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2020;33:1-8. doi: 10.1159/000502239
 SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety), Opinion on the safety of aluminum in cosmetic products, preliminary version of 30-31 October 2019, final version of 03-04 March 2020, SCCS/1613/19.
 Feldwisch-Drentrup, Hinnerk / Simmank, Jakob. The aluminum deodorant hysteria, accessed October 18, 2020, at https://www.zeit.de/wissen/gesundheit/2019-12/aluminiumsalze-deo-fähr-bundesamt-fuer-riskprüfung.